Acer UK sales slashed in HALF in Q3

One-time Taiwanese juggernaut in free fall

Notebook giant Acer fell fastest and hardest in a UK market dogged by weak consumer, SME and public sector spending.

The vendor saw shipments decline 52 per cent in Q3 as the overall sales in the UK dropped by 11 per cent, with just over 2.8 million units pushed into the channel, according to IDC's quarterly PC tracker.

This is the third consecutive quarter of declines in 2011 after a 21 per cent drop in Q1 and a 23 per cent drop on Q2.

The troubles began at Acer UK a year ago when the consumer market first started to splutter, falling demand that caught out the firm which continued to send container loads of kit from the Far East creating an inventory glut.

"Clearly we expected Acer to continue to decline but not by this much," IDC research manager Eszter Morvay told The Reg.

She said rivals had taken retailers' shelf space from Acer, adding: "It is not clear what direction Acer will take. [There is the] inventory issue and a lot of channel companies got upset with Acer ... and are cautious to take stock."

Rival HP has also suffered from inventory issues with retailers throughout this year and saw its consumer sales dive 21 per cent - but total sales across all segments slid nine per cent. Dell fell six per cent as it felt some benefit from the corporate refresh.

Apple was in "preliminary" fourth spot, though the numbers have yet to be finalised, and Lenovo – mirroring its bullish performance worldwide – was up 23 per cent including shipments from acquired firm Medion, which was integrated in August.

Morvay said the overall drop in the UK market was less pronounced than in the first half of 2011 but pointed out that Q3 2010 "was the first quarter when all hell broke loose due to the impact of tablets".

Worst hit again was the consumer market with desktops and notebook sales down 25 per cent and 20 per cent respectively, in the commercial space desk-based clients fell 1.8 per cent.

The only segment to grow was professional notebooks, where sales climbed 8.6 per cent, but even this growth was "soft" compared to the other major PC markets in Europe, with France and Germany up double digits, IDC told The Reg.

Morvay said the well-documented budget cuts were impacting demand from the public sector, that SME is "still in the toilet", and that analysis of the consumer market showed demand continued to shift to non-PC form factors – tablets and smartphones.

"The only opportunities for growth came from the enterprise space," she said, adding that the corporate replacement cycle was ongoing. ®

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